Several California newspapers, led by the Sacramento Bee, have closely chronicled the Wilseyville killings, which were also the subject of a true crime book called "Eye of Evil" by Joseph Harrington and Robert Burger. Although most of the evidence will remain off limits until Ng goes to trial, these sources have reported abundant details about the murders, the victims, and the alleged killers.
The house in Wilseyville is an unremarkable mountain cabin with a 14-foot by 16-foot cinderblock bunker built alongside. The bunker was apparently added by Lake and Ng, who allegedly killed the men who helped them construct it perhaps to keep them from telling anyone about its secrets.
The walls in the main room of the bunker were covered with photographs of women taken by Lake. Investigators found nothing particularly out of the ordinary in the bunker until they discovered a hidden catch behind a bookcase, which swung out to reveal a secret chamber. Inside was a bed, a plastic toilet, and a one-way mirror which allowed a person outside the hidden room to look in, while the occupant of the chamber would see only her own reflection. Authorities believe Lake and his partner would confine their female sex slaves inside the hidden room and spy on them from time to time through the one-way mirror. No one knows how long the women were confined in the tiny chamber before the men grew tired of the game and exterminated them.
Inside the bunker, police found written references to something called "Operation Miranda." When they later discovered Lake's diary, they learned that Operation Miranda was the code name for a doomsday fantasy scenario in which the bunker would play a pivotal role. "[The bunker] will provide a facility for my sexual fantasies," Lake wrote. "It will provide physical security for myself and my passions. It will protect me from nuclear fallout." Lake's fantasy was to repopulate the earth in the wake of a nuclear explosion, which he believed was imminent, by finding and holding women who would be forced into utter submission. He writes and speaks on videotape of his obsessive need to dominate women, to turn them into slaves who would cook and clean for him and accommodate his every sexual impulse. The name Operation Miranda was apparently lifted from a 1962 novel by John Fowles called "The Collector," which was found inside the bunker. The book is about a butterfly collector who kidnaps a beautiful woman named Miranda and holds her in a wine cellar, where she eventually dies.
Most of the Wilseyville victims were homeless people or drug dealers, people the killers must have figured would not be missed. Most, that is, but not all. Ng is charged with wiping out an entire family from San Francisco, a man, woman and child who were allegedly murdered for the sake of some video equipment they had advertised for sale.
The motives varied for the killings. Police believe many of the victims, like Cosner and the Dubs family of San Francisco, were killed for the sake of their belongings, such as a car or electronic equipment. Many such items belonging to alleged victims of Lake and Ng were found inside the cabin, buried on the property, or inside Ng's San Francisco apartment, but the two men also apparently sold off much of their loot at garage sales.
Other victims, such as Randy Jacobson, a homeless Vietnam veteran who was acquainted with Lake, may have been recruited to help build the bunker and then killed because they knew too much. Jacobson's was one of the few corpses buried near the cabin that officials were able to identify. He had been shot in the head execution-style with a .22 handgun.
Still others may have died simply because Lake or Ng didn't like them. Cliff Peranteau, a co-worker of Ng's at a San Francisco moving company, was heard arguing with Ng several times by other employees. He disappeared in January 1985, and many of his belongings were found in the cabin and in Ng's apartment.
Finally, at least two women became unwilling participants in Lake's ghoulish sexual fantasies, in which Ng also allegedly played a significant role. PAGE 5